Agency Tour Recap - Devine + Partners
On Tuesday, December 11th, members of Temple PRSSA visited Devine + Partners for an agency tour. We entered a big, open lobby with, perhaps, an even bigger Christmas tree, which was covered in beautiful cream and gold ornaments.
After anxiously stuffing ourselves in the elevator, we flew up 15 flights and entered the D+P office. We met Paige Knapp, their Account Executive and a Temple alumni, as well as Amanda Piccirilli-Hall, their Senior Account Executive. They were happy to give us a tour of their office, which had recently switched locations and is now settled at 1700 Market Street, in the hub of Center City, Philadelphia.
A great white counter stood between the kitchen and the cubicles accompanied by conference rooms. The space, while cozy, had high ceilings and large glass windows, which let the sunlight stream in. Amanda encouraged us to take pictures of their office and its views and post them all over social media.
Following the tour, we gathered in the conference room, which gave us another fantastic view of other sunlit buildings. Instead of telling us background information about D+P, Paige and Amanda played us a brief, crisp, and informative video incorporating remarks from clients and even better, drone shots of Philadelphia. The last minute of the video showed clips from a fun canoe trip that the agency staff took, and it truly demonstrated their closeness with each other.
Paige and Amanda then gave an overview of their journeys to D+P. Paige, who was interning in New York City, never thought she would want to be working in an agency due to its negative impressions characterized by high stress and too many clients to handle. However, when she returned to Philadelphia and joined D+P, she realized how exciting it was to help various clients because there are plenty of niches to try out (i.e. music, education, finance, and more). Three years later, she has grown so much at D+P.
Meanwhile, Amanda was a journalist who worked in several newsrooms with an interest in sports broadcast. When she was hired by D+P, she discovered public relations and had to learn from Paige about it.
The account executives went on to explain their approach as an agency. According to Paige, D+P is high risk, high stress, and high reward. And to be successful in the agency, she went on, you must be a self-starter. Amanda added that although it’s always okay to ask questions, she prefers to refer to Google first until she finds the answer she was looking for.
As a small but strong, tight-knight, and collaborative team guided by a senior leader, it is important for them to be able to “wear all the hats.” Having extensive knowledge in graphic design, social media, copywriting, research, video production, and more is a huge plus.
Furthermore, D+P introduced the idea of a “News Hub.” According to Amanda, this is “a huge idea that’s going to blow up.” The News Hub will allow D+P’s clients to build their own digital news platform, where they can break their stories themselves. By clients’ sides, D+P helps make the news packages that accompany the stories, which have snackable and shareable content.
While the agency is proud of how far they’ve come, they are also aware of their failures. Paige and Amanda told us a story of how an event they promoted to the news media nearly fell apart due to a surprisingly poor turnout. They assured us that even though their mistakes make them feel like the world is over, they always bounce back.
Alyssa Zinar, the Account Coordinator/Assistant Digital News Producer, stopped by the conference room to give advice. She encouraged us to apply for awards such as the PR Week Outstanding Student of the Year contest, which she won this year.
Toward the end of the agency tour, we engaged in a brainstorming activity. We had to brainstorm ideas based on Gritty and his presence in Philadelphia. Paige and Amanda wrote our shoutouts on the whiteboard, and there were many great ideas; the best ones were formed when we built off on one another.
With this activity, they concluded that no matter how simple or insubstantial we think our idea is, it could lead to something amazing, because there’s a chance nobody else in the in the office has thought of it. We were encouraged to speak up whenever we have the chance, and even if our idea is shut down, our voice still matters. In the small space that is D+P’s headquarters, sharing an opinion stimulates collaboration.
Paige and Amanda also told us to vary our internship experience, work hard, and reach out to people and uphold those connections.
From this experience, Temple PRSSA members learned what it takes to be a successful public relations intern in an agency like D+P. Being well-rounded and a self-starter are two of the most important skills we learned we must have if we choose to work in this agency. While it can be stressful and intense, the outcomes -- if worked hard for -- are rewarding.
This blog post was written by Haniya Shariff, General Body Member.